The Old Testament reading for Friday, October 30 is:

Hosea 4–5

The Lord Accuses Israel

4:1   Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
    for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
  There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
    and no knowledge of God in the land;
  there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
    they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
  Therefore the land mourns,
    and all who dwell in it languish,
  and also the beasts of the field
    and the birds of the heavens,
    and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
  Yet let no one contend,
    and let none accuse,
    for with you is my contention, O priest.1
  You shall stumble by day;
    the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
    and I will destroy your mother.
  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
  And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.
  The more they increased,
    the more they sinned against me;
    I will change their glory into shame.
  They feed on the sin2 of my people;
    they are greedy for their iniquity.
  And it shall be like people, like priest;
    I will punish them for their ways
    and repay them for their deeds.
10   They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
    they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
  because they have forsaken the LORD
    to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,
    which take away the understanding.
12   My people inquire of a piece of wood,
    and their walking staff gives them oracles.
  For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
    and they have left their God to play the whore.
13   They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
    and burn offerings on the hills,
  under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
    because their shade is good.
  Therefore your daughters play the whore,
    and your brides commit adultery.
14   I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
    nor your brides when they commit adultery;
  for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
    and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
  and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.
15   Though you play the whore, O Israel,
    let not Judah become guilty.
  Enter not into Gilgal,
    nor go up to Beth-aven,
    and swear not, “As the LORD lives.”
16   Like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn;
  can the LORD now feed them
    like a lamb in a broad pasture?
17   Ephraim is joined to idols;
    leave him alone.
18   When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
    their rulers3 dearly love shame.
19   A wind has wrapped them4 in its wings,
    and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Punishment Coming for Israel and Judah

5:1   Hear this, O priests!
    Pay attention, O house of Israel!
  Give ear, O house of the king!
    For the judgment is for you;
  for you have been a snare at Mizpah
    and a net spread upon Tabor.
  And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
    but I will discipline all of them.
  I know Ephraim,
    and Israel is not hidden from me;
  for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
    Israel is defiled.
  Their deeds do not permit them
    to return to their God.
  For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
    and they know not the LORD.
  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;5
    Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
    Judah also shall stumble with them.
  With their flocks and herds they shall go
    to seek the LORD,
  but they will not find him;
    he has withdrawn from them.
  They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD;
    for they have borne alien children.
    Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
  Blow the horn in Gibeah,
    the trumpet in Ramah.
  Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
    we follow you,6 O Benjamin!
  Ephraim shall become a desolation
    in the day of punishment;
  among the tribes of Israel
    I make known what is sure.
10   The princes of Judah have become
    like those who move the landmark;
  upon them I will pour out
    my wrath like water.
11   Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
    because he was determined to go after filth.7
12   But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
    and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
13   When Ephraim saw his sickness,
    and Judah his wound,
  then Ephraim went to Assyria,
    and sent to the great king.8
  But he is not able to cure you
    or heal your wound.
14   For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
    and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
  I, even I, will tear and go away;
    I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
15   I will return again to my place,
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
    and in their distress earnestly seek me.

Footnotes

[1] 4:4 Or for your people are like those who contend with the priest
[2] 4:8 Or sin offering
[3] 4:18 Hebrew shields
[4] 4:19 Hebrew her
[5] 5:5 Or in his presence
[6] 5:8 Or after you
[7] 5:11 Or to follow human precepts
[8] 5:13 Or to King Jareb

(ESV)


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Old Testament Pastoral Commentary for Hosea 4-5
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Hosea's prophecy takes the form of the scene of a trial in which God is both the accuser and the judge. God accuses His people of unfaithfulness to him in the form of all kinds of sin, from swearing to murder and adultery. God portrays their wickedness as effecting the whole creation, just as it did when Adam and Eve first fell into sin. The priests and prophets of Israel are guilty of causing God's people to be destroyed "for lack of knowledge." God promises to not only punish Israel for their sins, but even to punish them in their sinning, so that their feasting will not satisfy, and when they play the "whore" in fertility rites, no fertility will result. God points out the foolishness of their idolatry saying: "My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles." Ironically, God says that He will punish the sins of both the women and the men by letting sin have free reign until they "come to ruin." This is similar to Paul's repeated refrain in Romans 1: "God gave them up." God's judgment on Israel was to serve as a warning to Judah, their brothers to the south. All of Israel's leaders from the king to the priests have failed them, becoming a "snare" to capture the "revolters" who turn against the LORD. For all of them, spiritual adultery has become a way of life from which they cannot turn. When they do insincerely attempt to seek the LORD, they will not find Him, because "He has withdrawn from them." God then warns of another form of judgment, and declares that a trumpet should sound a warning about an invader from the south, which is Judah, at the time of the conflict between Judah and Ephraim in 735 BC. Even though Israel deserves to be chastised, Judah is guilty as well of seeking to "move the landmark" and by taking Israel's territory. Instead of seeking help from the LORD, however, Ephraim turned to Assyria, who was unable to "cure your wound." God threatened to return to His place in heaven and wait until His people will confess their sins and earnestly seek His face. Only then will God restore them by His grace.